Late last week, Elizabeth sent me a text message that indicated that somehow, one of the covers of our Maclaren stroller wheels just popped right off while she was pushing it and now it was difficult to push it properly. I told her that it was a good thing it was under warranty and that she was not too far from the store where we had purchased it. She reminded me that we needed a receipt for proof of purchase and that receipt was at home. I wondered to myself if it would be worth scanning all receipts and uploading them to Google Documents as PDFs so that one would always have a copy of ones receipts at all times. (I still haven’t implemented that idea though I hope to do so soon, even though I fear a digital copy may not be accepted — naturally just mentioning that I hope to implement it in the future means it may be years before I actually do it!)

We found the receipt for the stroller and I called the store where we purchased it. They promptly told me that I would have to take the stroller to the Maclaren store in the SoHo part of New York (South of Houston street) and they would be able to determine if they could fix it or not. I called that store the next day and, despite my wife assuring me that they were open, found myself leaving a very detailed message on their answering service. I explained what had happened and what I hoped they would be able to do for me.

I called again the next day, having received no call back from them. The person with whom I spoke told me that if we brought the stroller with the receipt that they would be able to ascertain whether we would need to pay a tune-up fee or not. I dreaded the visit as this phone conversation felt less than positive.

It was a bit of a hike for us to get to the Maclaren store, chiefly because the one wheel being off of its proper alignment made pushing it about ten times harder than usual. Add to that the fact that our train stopped one stop before Broadway / Lafayette Street (where we were meant to get off) and were told to please be patient… just in time for our darling angel Chaim Yosef to lose his patience and start having a fit right there in the subway train… and you can imagine how we felt when we started our trip up the first of what seemed like perhaps four or five sets of stairs that stood between us and being outside.

We entered the Maclaren store and found quite a pleasant place from the aesthetic perspective. They have a large photographic display with the history of the company dating back to the early 1900s when the founder of the company wanted to make strollers more like an umbrella. That was what attracted us to them — we wanted a stroller that would be easier to carry up six flights of stairs on the Sabbath, when we are not able to use the elevator. My favorite part of the company history was the last part which was, instead of a photograph, an iPad2 with a dark display. Underneath it, the words “the future?” The store also had a hall lined with more iPads, each showing slideshows of photographs depicting Maclaren products.

My wife told the woman at the counter what had happened and they asked us to remove Chaim Yosef from the stroller, who immediately started flirting with all the staff. A gentleman took the stroller away and we were invited to make ourselves comfortable. We were just taking off our coats when the gentleman came back with our stroller and told us that he was done. I was going to ask him if we were going to get a new cover for the wheel but he darted away and came back with a wheel cover and attached it to the wheel.

We ended up buying a seat cover as it was on sale — it turns out that we didn’t have to pay anything to get the stroller repaired because it was completely covered under the warranty. Here is the awesome seat cover in question.

The lesson I have taken from this is that you can occasionally find customer service that is not only excellent but above phenomenal. Maclaren is guaranteed that my wife and I will return again and again, and all because a few people in a store knew how to treat my wife, toddler and I with the respect that we deserve as customers.

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